St. Mary's Seminary & University

Master of Arts in Theology

Master of Arts in Theology

The Master of Arts in Theology (MAT) is a general theological studies degree that provides foundational studies in the main disciples of theology, including biblical studies, history, moral theology (theological ethics), spirituality, systematic theology, and ecumenical and interfaith studies. Electives are also available in practical theology and religious education.

Admissions Process

The MAT degree is earned with the successful completion of 48 credits, including a culminating experience. Students may pursue a general program or concentrate in biblical studies, history, moral theology, or systematic theology.

Degree Learning Outcomes

MAT graduates will be able—wisely, faithfully, and responsibly*—to:

  • interpret biblical texts and articulate Scripture’s major theological themes
  • analyze Christian texts, convictions, and practices within the major developments and diversities of Christian tradition
  • interpret the world in all its dimensions theologically
  • integrate ecumenical understanding and respect in articulating one’s own faith identity and engaging with others

* N.B.—Wisely means cognitive work that cares about the flourishing of persons, communities, and creation; faithfully means cognitive work that attends to the subject matter in relation to God; and responsibly means cognitive work that uses appropriate methods and demonstrates competent judgment.

The Curriculum

The curriculum of the Master of Arts in Theology program consists of 16 three-credit courses and a culminating experience. The courses include:

  • An introduction to theological study and an orientation to biblical studies
  • Requirements (with some choice) in six departments
  • Three free electives

For their culminating experience, students may do one of the following, depending on their interest, background, and grade point average:

  • Participate in a colloquium (integrative seminar) which counts as the 16th course
  • Write a thesis which counts as the 16th course

Graduation Requirements

Graduation requirements for the Master of Arts in Theology are as follows:

  • Satisfactory completion of 48 credits, according to specific distribution requirements
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 for all courses taken at St. Mary’s
    Note: Students whose GPA falls below 2.7 risk academic probation or dismissal.
  • Satisfactory completion of the culminating experience

Course Requirements

The following courses are required for the Master of Arts in Theology.

Introductory Courses (2 courses)

  • TH601 Introduction to Theological Study
    Note: TH601 is normally a pre- or corequisite for other courses in the program; students with prior theological study may petition to waive this course and substitute a free elective.
  • BS600 Orientation to Biblical Studies
    Note: BS600 is normally a pre- or corequisite for most other courses in biblical studies in the program; students with prior academic biblical study may petition to replace this course with a biblical elective.

Biblical Studies (3 courses)

  • BS621 Literature and Theology of the Hebrew Bible
  • BS622 Literature and Theology of the New Testament
  • One BS elective

Ecumenical and Interfaith Studies (1 course)

  • Any ES (Ecumenical and Interfaith Studies) course

 History (2 courses)

  • H601 Early and Medieval Church History
  • H603 Modern Church History

Systematic and Moral Theology (4 courses)

  • ST601 Foundations of Systematic Theology
  • MT600 Fundamentals of Theological Ethics
  • Two electives from Moral Theology and/or Systematic Theology

Spirituality (1 course)

  • Any three credit SP (Spirituality) course, except courses in spiritual direction

Free Electives (3 courses)

Any courses for which the co- and/or prerequisites are met, including up to two 500-level courses taken before matriculation.

Culminating Experience

The Master of Arts in Theology program requires a culminating experience designed to promote integration and to assess overall achievement of degree outcomes. For their culminating experience, students may do one of the following, depending on their interest, background, and grade point average:

  • Participate in a master’s colloquium (TH799, an integrative seminar offered each spring).
  • Write a thesis.


Any student may informally focus on an area of the curriculum by choosing departmental courses and electives according to his or her interests. In consultation with their advisor, the Dean, and/or the Director of the M.A. in Theology (MAT) program, students may also design formal concentrations in a specific area (e.g., biblical studies), a narrower sub-discipline of theology (e.g., Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, New Testament), or an inter-disciplinary area (e.g., the Bible and Christian ethics). A concentration consists of six courses (seven if a thesis is written), of which no more than two may be independent studies. Normally the concentration will have a mixture of specific requirements and unspecified electives.

Students wishing to pursue an individualized concentration should meet with either the Dean, the Director of the MAT program, or their advisor to select an area of concentration and design the course content of the concentration. The proposed concentration must be approved by both the advisor and the Dean or the Director of the MAT program.


My journey at the EI has been very enriching…a time of great growth both spiritually and academically. Michelle Sullivan, MAT ’14